Yum yum, or as they say in France: miam miam. I looooove this lime pie. One guest experienced a ‘taste explosion’ and another exclaimed, ‘it’s like Spring!’ This ginger and mint lime pie is another patisserie creation with an identity crisis: it might be American, but some Asian ginger and Moroccan mint have slipped in there. What this pie does know is it’s creamy, light, tangy and refreshing, with cool lime cream floating over little hot pieces of stem ginger on a flaky biscuit-like pastry. topped with swirls of meringue. And all with a hint of fresh mint.
It’s also quite easy to make, if you’re good friends with pastry and Italian meringue or willing to get acquainted. You might want to give it the time of day. It’s my favourite pie ever and though I’ve made it many many times, I felt I did need to test it out again. I’m very responsible that way.
And speaking of cake testing, a couple of weekends ago I met a very enthusiastic new volunteer guinea pig who has dropped enormous hints. Actually, ‘hints’ is too mild a word. I quote from the Spanish guy’s recent e-mail: ‘I am expecting your invitation for testing cakes’. I’m not complaining (I did repeatedly issue invitations after all) – it’s great! Pleeeease come to my flat and help eat my cakes. All hands on deck, or ‘on cake’ to be precise.
I wanted to take full advantage of this new tester, who apparently loves their food, for our cake dinner (yes, cake dinner). The full works I thought: hmm, lime pie, lemon macarons and croissants too maybe? Would that be enough, I wondered. Scroll down to see the result: tables laden with sweet edibles but with a surprise healthy starter and a little present for me – hmm, what could that be?
But for now, sweet reader, yes you’re right. Let’s stop getting carried away and just start with the pie recipe.
You’ll need a sugar thermometre for the Italian meringue and a blowtorch is useful for browning the meringue. If you don’t have one, you can brown the pie under the grill.
A 28cm French tart ring OR a 25cm pie dish/mould
Shortcrust pastry (okay, you can buy it if you really want to, but homemade is better)
- 225g plain flour
- 3/4 (three quarters) tablespoon ground ginger
- pinch of salt
- 135g unsalted butter (cold and cut into small pieces)
- 45g icing sugar
- 45g egg yolks (about 2 medium-sized eggs)
- about 1 tablespoon ice cold water (15g)
- 100g juice of lime (about 3 or 4 limes)
- 6g mint (4g to macerate in the juice and 2g to sprinkle on top) – washed, dried in a clean tea towel and torn into pieces by hand.
- finely grated zest of 3 limes (half in the juice, half to sprinkle on top)
- 200g condensed milk (the sweetened kind – you can do it with unsweetened and it makes it a healthier filling but more liquid. I did it once by accident.)
- 45g egg yolks (2 to 3 eggs)
- 150ml (150g) 35% cold whipping cream (or double cream)
- 35g pieces of chopped crystallised ginger or stem ginger drained of syrup (you can use either, or a combination)
- 125g granulated sugar
- 38g cold water (about 2 and a half tbspoons)
- 80g large egg whites at room temperature
Infuse the lime juice with mint leaves for the filling
Stir half the zest (1.5 limes) and 4g of the mint leaves into the juice. Cover and put in the fridge to infuse for 2 hours.
Keep the unused half of the zest (1.5 limes) in the fridge for later.
Grease your pie mould or tart ring
Spread a thin and even layer of butter inside the mould or ring with your fingers or with greaseproof paper. Put the tart ring on greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
Pastry (for instructions with photos, go to making shortcrust pastry)
- Sift the flour, ground ginger and pinch of salt in a big bowl, then whisk to combine well.
- Add the small cubes of cold butter and rub into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until you get a bowl of what looks like dry and not totally fine breadcrumbs (see the video on making shortcrust pastry).
- Add the icing sugar and whisk again to combine.
- Add the egg yolk and cold water and stir quickly with a fork or your hand, till the pastry comes together in a ball. It might be sticky.
- Take your pastry to a table top and ‘fraiser‘, once or twice to ensure there are no lumps of butter left, stretching the pastry quickly on the worktop with the palm of your hand (there’s a demo on this youtube video).
- Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour.
Lining your tart ring or pie mould and blind baking (see here for instructions with photos)
- Roll out the pastry to around 2mm to 4mm thickness and line your mould.
- Freeze the pastry for 30 minutes and pre-heat the oven at 170°C (fan assisted oven) or 190°C (static non-convection oven).
- Put crinkled greaseproof paper into the pastry case and cover evenly with ceramic baking beans or real ones/rice.
- Blind bake for 10 minutes till the pastry is firm but not too brown. Take out of the oven and remove the beans and greaseproof paper.
- Return to the oven at a lower heat of 160°C (fan assisted) or 180°C (static) to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown or even a little darker brown in places, but not black and burnt (because that would be bad).
- Cool the pastry case on a wire cooling rack then take out of the tin or mould.
- Pass the lime juice, zest and mint through a sieve and squeeze the mint to get the juice out.
- In a big bowl, whisk the lime juice, condensed milk and egg yolks for a few minutes till the mixture thickens a bit.
- Whisk the cream till it is just before soft peak (forming a ribbon trail).
- Fold the cream into the lime juice mixture, gently and with a figure of eight motion until everything is combined. Don’t overfold.
- Pour into the pastry case and cool in the fridge for 1 hour or more. 1 hour later…
Make your Italian meringue with a sugar syrup that has boiled to 118°C. See under ‘basics’/’Meringues’ if you need instructions, here.
You can spoon the meringue over the lime cream in the pastry case, or use a pastry bag and nozzle no.12 to make round peaks of different sizes and cover the cream. Varying hand pressure on the pastry bag and length of piping time will give you different sizes.
Blowtorch the meringue a little to brown the crests. If you don’t have a blowtorch then put a few minutes under the grill to brown (be very very careful and watch it like a hawk that has just spotted a mouse – it browns quickly).
Then sprinkle your lovely pie with chopped mint and the remaining lime zest.
Leave in the fridge for about an hour before serving, loosely covered or in a tupperware box that isn’t totally closed. Practise saying ‘hmmm’ and ‘yum’ while you wait.
Serve with sliced limes by the side if you like. This tart is best the first day, but is okay on the second and third too! Though the pastry might start to get a little softer.
So this is Cake tester number one’s table of food (missing from the photo: the starter, more croissants and cured ham, and salted caramel macarons):
And Cake tester number 2’s table the next day (yes, that’s her arm again)! Missing from the table: the healthy lime cake. But can you spot the healthy starter?
Yes, it’s homemade miso soup. We do sometimes eat stuff that isn’t cake! 🙂
Results: all good. The lime pie was beauuuuutiful. But I have to find a way for caramel macarons to get chewy more quickly (the shell stays dry for up to 4 days). And after the first day croissants should be heated up 6 minutes in the oven to refresh them. Oh, and Spanish cured ham goes really really well with croissants!
And finally, can you spot my little present from Cake tester number one? Yes, a really handy tool for baking which you stick in the middle of the cake when it’s almost ready. As you know, when the tester comes out clean your cake is ready to leave the oven! I now have two of these, which is great as one is always bound to go into hiding when the threat of a visit to the oven looms.
No, not the oven again! Aaaargh!
So nice to see you again sweet reader! I’ll be posting more recipes soon, but I’m now declaring this my ‘Healthy cake week’ and looking at sugar-free and spelt flour recipes! A jolly good idea…? 🙂